Civil War Period Manhattan Series III Navy Revolver
Civil War Period Manhattan Series III Navy Revolver – This Manhattan Navy Model revolver is .36 caliber, with a 4” barrel. The pistol’s serial numbers (43,389) all match and are within the correct war period range of 14,500 to 45,200 – indicates production between September 1861 to April 1864 . The cylinder has five chambers and is marked “PATENT”. As with this model and date of production, this is a one line barrel address: ”MANHATTAN FIRE ARMS CO. NEWARK N.J.” The varnished walnut grips are original and in good condition. The pistol is in overall very good condition, with some wear use scratches, but no pitting or surface rust. The cylinder indexes well, when the hammer is cocked.
Manhattan Firearms Company was established by a committee of businessmen in 1856 in preparation for the expiration of Colt revolver patents upcoming in 1857. Production began immediately at the Manhattan facility in Norwich, Connecticut but by 1859, production had been moved to a new facility in Newark, New Jersey. Before the patents had officially expired, however, Manhattan busied itself with manufacture of other expired patent firearms – primarily single-shot revolvers and percussion “pepperboxes”. Once the Colt patents became available for copy, the Manhattan concern moved in to cash in and delivered their version of the famous Colt Model 1851 Navy and Model 1849 Pocket revolver models.The Manhattan versions were nearly identical to the Colt products, so much so that the Colt concern moved in with a lawsuit to prevent their production. Nevertheless, Manhattan generated some 80,000 units sold before the end of their run. The Manhattan Navy was discernable from the original Colt in that they machined extra safety notches along the cylinder which became the primary identifier throughout the years following. Manhattan guns did make an appearance in the American Civil War as did many other lesser known firearms of the time – war dictated the need for just about any viable firearm in existence and firms like Manhattan were not blind to the requirement.
Manhattan Navy revolvers mimicked much of what made Colt revolvers exquisite firearms. Lines were sharp and curved were smooth, exuding both elegance and functionality. Like Colt revolvers before it, the frame was open-topped in nature unlike competing Remingtons. The barrel was octagonal with a loading lever managed underneath the barrel, the lever actuating the integrated rammer against the cylinder chambers. The grips were covered in beautiful walnut and the cylinders unfluted and engraved like the Colts. The hammer was capped by a handy spur for management by the thumb or free hand. The curved trigger unit sat with an oblong brass trigger ring. Loading of the gunpowder and ball ammunition was through the front of the cylinder (5- or 6-shot depending on the model). Percussion caps were affixed to each chamber on the rear portion of the cylinder by hand. The hammer fell onto the cap, providing the spark needed for the ignition of the gunpowder. A front sight was added aft of the muzzle. In all, Manhattan Navy revolvers were mechanically sound, owing much to the original Colt design.